Possessing even small amounts of controlled substances used to constitute a serious criminal offense in Washington. Those who judges or juries found guilty often faced prison sentences, steep fines or both. If you are one of the countless Washingtonians with possession convictions in your past, you may be in for some good news.
Recently, the Washington Supreme Court found the state’s prohibition against possessing controlled substances to be unconstitutional. In response to the decision, the Washington State Legislature passed a temporary fix changing drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. Governor Inslee has signed the bill.
State v. Blake
As part of a car theft investigation, police officers arrested Shannon Blake. When searching Blake, officers found a small bag of methamphetamine in her pocket. At her trial, Blake testified she did not know the drugs were in her jeans. The Washington Supreme Court eventually ruled the state’s drug possession law unconstitutional, as the law did not require prosecutors to prove defendants knew about their possession.
Those who are currently serving a prison sentence for drug possession may be eligible for commutation from the governor. If you have already completed your sentence, you may be able to vacate your conviction. Doing so may help you both to clear your record and to restore your reputation.
While the Washington Supreme Court’s decision in the Blake case may not immediately remove your drug possession conviction from your record, it is certainly good news for you. Ultimately, though, you probably must take steps to apply the decision to your situation.